Premier Jason Kenney issued the following statement in response to the unveiling of the new federal cabinet:
“Congratulations to all new and returning cabinet ministers in the Trudeau government.
“With no ministers from Alberta, I hope that ministers with portfolios of especially urgent interest to our province will listen to Albertans, take our concerns seriously, and work constructively with the Alberta government to address them.
“Despite our own economic hardship, Alberta continues to pay a hugely disproportionate share of the country’s bills. Even during these tough economic times, over the past five years we have contributed on average $23 billion more through our federal taxes to Ottawa than we’ve received back in services and transfers. We’ve made a net contribution of $200 billion over the past decade, and of $600 billion since 1960.
“While there has been no cap on transfers out of Alberta, even during the current economic downturn, Ottawa has maintained an arbitrary low cap on payments owed to Alberta under the Fiscal Stabilization Program (FSP), the federal program that is supposed to help provinces when they face a severe year-over-year economic decline. That is why we are asking Ottawa for an ‘equalization rebate’ of the $1.73 billion we should have received under the FSP, which we will use to get Albertans back to work.
“Adding to Albertans’ frustration is federal policy aimed at the heart of our economy and intruding into our provincial jurisdiction. The federal bills C-69 and C-48 hurt energy production and drive away investment by making it next to impossible to transport and sell our oil for a fair price, despite Alberta increasingly producing the most responsible barrel of oil in the world to the highest environmental, human rights and labour standards. Bill C-69 also violates the constitutional division of powers agreed between the provinces and the federal government in 1982, as the Senate recognized when it proposed unprecedented amendments to the legislation – which the Trudeau government promptly ignored.
“We have much to discuss with the Prime Minister and his new cabinet on these and other items we have already set out in letters and public communications since the federal election. Our government will be a strong voice for Alberta in Ottawa and with other provinces and territories, explaining the importance of Alberta’s economy to the national economy and making the case for a Fair Deal for Alberta within Canada. That work began the day we took office and it takes on new urgency now. I look forward to meeting with the Prime Minister in person next month in Ottawa to highlight Alberta’s expectations for a Fair Deal.”